n African Human Rights Law Journal - Protecting traditional knowledge in Africa : considering African approaches

Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



This article reflects on various legal mechanisms that are available to protect traditional knowledge. Its departing point is that legal protection of traditional knowledge requires a response that is pragmatic, yet innovative. It assesses the usefulness of conventional legal machinery such as intellectual property rights and contract law and comments on the failure of these tools to accommodate the more amorphous traditional knowledge systems. The article investigates other responses, such as the conception of sui generis rights and protection by way of human rights law. In doing so, it specifically explores the African normative legal framework that could be utilised in the protection of traditional knowledge.

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